The NSW Cup Newcastle Knights were defeated 34-12 by the Wests Tigers at Cessnock Sports Ground on Saturday evening.
Inspired by a two tries to Fijian flyer Marika Koroibete, the Tigers proved far too strong for the Knights in an impressive display of slick skills and speed.
The men in red and blue were first to score after 12 minutes, but that was their only joy in the first half as the away side charged to a comfortable 24-6 lead at the break.
Wests’ domination continued in the second half with a further two tries to confirm a comfortable 22-point win.
The defeat leaves the Knights stranded in ninth position after 13 rounds of the NSW VB Cup.
Newcastle made a number of positional changes prior to kick-off.
Marcel Ikinofo replaced Timana Tahu in the centres, while Honeti Tuha came in on the wing for Josh Mantellato.
The Knights had the dream start to the match when lock and captain Tyler Randell pounced on a loss ball in the Tigers’ in-goal area.
Halfback Michael Dobson converted to give the home side an early 6-0 lead.
The Tigers locked the scores at 6-all six minutes later via crafty hooker Joel Luani, who barged over from close range to score.
Luani’s four-pointer then sparked the away side into action, who took the lead 10 minutes later following a try to fullback Kurtis Rowe.
The Tigers rammed home their ascendancy with two tries to winger Marika Koroibete within the space of eight minutes to go to the break with a commanding 24-6 lead.
Newcastle had their chances in the second half, but poor ball control and execution cost them dearly.
This enabled the Tigers to extend their advantage via a double to veteran centre Keith Lulia.
Nathan Ross snared a try for the Knights in the dying stages, but it meant little in the end as the Tigers charged a comprehensive victory.
Newcastle will look to get their season back on track when they take on the Newton Jets at Henson Park next Saturday from 3.00pm.